Denuclearization, sanctions, peace: Issues facing Trump-Kim summit

Not a fan

Less than a week after Trump announced he would meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore, the North Koreans threatened to cancel the plan over two complaints: Ongoing joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, and the Trump administration's insistence that North Korea end its nuclear weapons programs without some kind of compensation.

"The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities", North Korea's Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.

China on Wednesday urged ally North Korea not to cancel a historic summit between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and United States President Trump.

"We'll have to see", Mr Trump told reporters on Thursday morning (AEST) in the Oval Office when asked if the summit with Mr Kim would go ahead.

'We haven't been notified at all'.

"And if it doesn't, we'll continue the "maximum pressure" campaign that's ongoing", she said, referring to the USA -led sanctions and economic pressure campaign that even includes some of North Korea's few allies like China.

"The president is ready if the meeting takes place".

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"We support and hope that the DPRK and South Korea can fully demonstrate their understanding and respect for each other's legitimate concerns in accordance with the spirit of dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation embodied in the Panmunjom Declaration, and they can work together to build mutual trust and improve relations", he said.

Trump's aides - who, according to one USA official, were caught off guard by North Korea's warning - were working on Wednesday to determine whether it was a negotiating ploy by Pyongyang or an attempt to scuttle the summit. South Korea and the United States have held the exercise twice a year starting from 2009.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department says the U.S. has not heard anything directly from Pyongyang or Seoul that would change that. North Korea has given concessions by releasing US detainees and setting a date for the dismantling of its nuclear test site. You have to remember, that for a very long time, Kim has been talking about how nuclear weapons are the core of his rule and so it's very hard for him to go to the South Koreans and then the Americans and say look, I'm willing to give them up, you know, no big deal.

National Security Adviser John Bolton explicitly cited "the Libya model of 2003-2004" as a basis for the North Korea talks last month, which drew personal rebuke from the North Korean government Wednesday. A senior North Korean diplomat said Pyongyang will refuse to be pressured into abandoning its nukes.

It is a sudden and dramatic return to the rhetoric of the past by Pyongyang, after months of rapid diplomatic rapprochement on the peninsula. She says the annual exercises are long-planned, are defensive in nature and are meant to ensure the readiness of US and South Korean forces. It includes aircraft from across the US military services.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Kim had previously indicated he understood the need and goal of the US continuing its long-planned joint exercises with South Korea.

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